Private individuals and state governments in the northern part of Nigeria have been called upon to see the need for establishment of more universities, as this would no doubt create more room for qualified candidates to seek for knowledge as leaders of tomorrow.
Former Executive Secretary of TETfund, Prof Suleiman Bogoro, disclosed this on Friday, at the Plateau State University Bokkos (PLASU), while delivering a 1st Combined Convocation lecture.
According to Bogoro, the sustainable funding of universities is key to educational and national growth and development.
He lamented over the way and manner the federal and state governments, including private proprietors, are funding the existing universities and other tertiary institutions in the country.
Prof Bogoro stated that, in spite of the funding problem, some Nigerian universities are being ranked among the ‘top 10 Universities’ in Africa as demonstrated by University of Ibadan (UI), which “is presently ranked number 601 in the world.”
“Altruism and the underpinning patriotic contribution to national development and more so inclusive education, must take the front seat as the main objective for establishing public universities.”
According to him, basically, it’s getting clearer the prevailing experiences of below 10 per cent budgetary allocation by federal and state governments, and the prevailing recession, more innovative, mainly more non-budgetary funding windows have to be adopted to save our public universities from collapse.
He said that, such under-funding of universities and other higher institutions were the basis for incessant strike actions by staff and students, which contribute to deny the sector and the nation the desired growth and development.
He stressed that, if not for ASUU’s agitation during the regime of Prof Attahiru Jega as National President in days of Gen Ibrahim Babangida, to think outside the box for the funding of tertiary institutions, nobody knows what could have been the fate of education in Nigeria, today.
According to him, “ETF, now TETfund, is one of the best thinking out of the box by ASUU in the days of Prof Attahiru Jega, which is helping in developing the educational sector.
He said, unfortunately, the budgetary allocation to education is very minimal, even what is budgeted only between 50–60 percent is what is being released at both federal and state levels.
“These anomalies should not continue if at all we want this country to develop and compete with other nations globally,” he advised.
Prof Bogoro, who is presently a lecturer at the Department of Animal Science at ATBU, Bauchi, stated that once development is not inclusive and sustainable, government must, therefore, ensure that fewer privileges are included and benefit educationally.
At the same time, the Professor suggested that, if state governments would religiously apply funding laws that would require them along with Local Governments to contribute specific annual budgetary funds to their universities for 10-20 years, the impact would help in reducing their subsequent financial obligations.
He said, the problem of access to higher education is being manifested with the inability of universities to admit all qualified candidates seeking admissions into higher institutions in the country.